People and Planet League Table | Case Studies 11-20

Welsh Countryside

Case Studies - 1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-32  |  Quotes from UWTSD

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UWTSD is the first university in the UK to achieve a Food for Life Gold Catering Mark from the Soil Association for its banqueting and events services across all campuses.

The Soil Association’s Catering Mark provides an independent endorsement that food providers are taking steps to improve the food that they serve, using fresh ingredients which are free from trans-fats, harmful additives and genetically modified products (GM), and are better for animal welfare. Catering Services are audited by the Association annually to ensure they meet high standards of provenance and traceability, providing reassurance to customers that meals are freshly prepared using environmentally-sustainable and seasonal ingredients.

The University has been awarded the Gold Catering Mark for its banqueting and events catering and is the first University in the UK to achieve this accolade for a service provided across its campuses. UWTSD is also the first University in Wales to be awarded a Silver Award for its lunch services which include the popular Sunday carveries served at its restaurants in Carmarthen and Lampeter.

The list of the University’s suppliers include companies operating in the immediate environs of its campuses in Lampeter, Carmarthen, and Swansea as part of the University’s commitment to sustainable development across its campuses, curriculum, culture and community. 

Vandana Sahai, Head of Catering and Conferences

At the NUS Green Impact Awards Ceremony earlier this Summer, UWTSD was delighted to have six teams awarded with the Bronze Award for a variety of sustainable initiatives being run across the University.

Green Impact is an environmental accreditation and awards scheme run by the National Union of Students, bringing staff and students together within their wider communities to enable and showcase positive changes in environmental practice, reducing the negative environmental impacts of their workspace.

Since becoming a part of the scheme in November 2013, UWTSD has seen twenty-seven departmental representatives from across the Swansea, Carmarthen and Lampeter UWTSD campuses rewarded for their commitment and hard work to Green Impact projects.

A further seven teams are now working towards their Bronze Awards and are currently looking at practical solutions for improving their departments’ environmental performance.

Fiona Wheatley, Sustainability Officer

At UWTSD, the Faculty of Humanities introduced an innovative intra-faculty approach when it redesigned the research skills and methods module that is taken by all level 5 students in the Faculty.

The goal of the re-design was to enhance and embed ESD priorities into the broader curriculum in an area where sustainability issues were less evident or thought to be less accessible. The aim of the research methods module is to equip students with the skills they need to undertake independent research at level 6 but this needs to be balanced with content relevant to individual students' subject specialisms.

To achieve this balance, research methods are taught and assessed through the use of case studies that explore various sustainability issues relevant to a student's own subject. Each school within the Faculty delivers the sustainability element of the module through its own area/subject but all the students are brought together at the end of the module for a student conference.

The module was introduced in the 2011–12 academic year and using staff and student feedback was further developed for 2012–13, the final student conference being turned into an inter-subject competition by asking each subject to present an argument that their subject was of most relevance and importance to sustainability issues.

Through this approach, all students within the Faculty of Humanities are now exposed to sustainability principles via a core part of their courses. Student feedback indicates that the new model has been well received and effectively develops understanding of generic sustainability issues and research skills whilst remaining rooted in subject disciplines.

Dr Mirjam Plantinga, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Performance

The Community Carbon Link (CCL partnered with the University through UWTSD’s Students’ Union Rooting for Change initiative has received a UN Gold Star award.

Community Carbon Link

The award comes as a result of collaborations between the staff and students of the Faculty of Humanities and Performance, the town of Lampeter and a group of Giriama horticulturalists in rural Kenya. Together through a series of imaginative voluntary actions, the Faculty raised money to plant trees in Kenya. The sponsored trees support Giriama farmers' subsistence and simultaneously absorb carbon from our shared atmosphere. The student body - with £2000 of match funding support from the Faculty - raised a total of £7,500 for this project. This money also helped create a new classroom for Kundeni school in Bore, Kenya during their recent 'spin-off' Building for Change funding initiative. With nearly 18,000 trees now planted, this project demonstrates the ability of community initiatives to genuinely alter lives.

The CCL originally created to sponsor Kenyan Giriama farmers to plant fast growing cashew nut trees for atmospheric carbon reabsorption in an equatorial region, has recently, at the request of the Giriama, diversified into a broader collaborative partnership between the two communities. Anthropology lecturer in the Faculty of Humanities at UWTSD Lampeter, Luci Attala, is currently working to document this Wales/Africa Community Link and the resulting community engagements. Her work pays specific attention to the part water plays in supporting the communities’ diverse aims. The information emerging from this Community Link offers an alternative relational model to sustainable development schemes.

The project received the award from Rt Hon Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister of Wales at the Senedd in Cardiff on the 4th December 2014.

Contact: Luci Attala, Faculty of Humanities and Performance

Professor Simon Haslett, Dean of Learning, Teaching and Enhancement at UWTSD, has been engaged in leading a UK initiative on Climate Change Education. This originated from a Higher Education Academy (HEA) funded project on the application of Google Earth to Climate Change Education, for which Professor Haslett was the Principal Investigator. As part of the project, a symposium was held at the Royal Geographical Society from which his edited book Pedagogy of Climate Change was published by the HEA and is freely available as an open educational resource. Although the funded project has now ended, research is still ongoing and further publications are expected in the future.

Professor Simon Haslett, Dean of Learning, Teaching and Enhancement

A group of Secondary PGCE Design and Technology students, led by their tutor, Susan Smith, investigated the travel steps of a Kinder Egg and researched the teaching and learning opportunities for possible applications at KS3/4 Design and Technology, Welsh Baccalaureate (WEW), and PHSE.

Looking into developing the use of a popular chocolate product in the teaching and learning of Design and Technology in Secondary School, the activity was carried out by the Secondary PGCE trainee teachers in January 2014. 

The trainees were asked to research materials and processes of production, in particular where raw materials are sourced. The origins of each ingredient and material were plotted on a World map using different coloured post-it notes.  The resulting information enabled trainees to understand the impact on the environment of production and transportation of a popular consumer product. This exercise made a relevant and valuable contribution to the PGCE trainees' understanding of ESDGC.

Dr Sioned Vaughan Hughes, Faculty of Education and Communities

‘Down to Earth’ is a local charity dedicated to offering practising sustainability in the outdoors. Third year Early Childhood degree students at UWTSD students enjoyed a range of hands on and outdoor activities designed to explore how early childhood practitioners can incorporate sustainability into their everyday work with children as part of the Green Childhood module. Activities included ‘big map’ global citizenship and fairness games, tree climbing, wood carving, clay model making, sensory games, making camp fires, as well as building and construction.

Down to earth

One of the students commented said: “It allowed me to see the opportunities that the outdoors environment has to promote sustainability and holistic development. By taking part in the workshops it has given me confidence and ideas that I can use when working with children, which will allow us to become part of the solution to a sustainable future.”

The day also included presentations from the Down to Earth team providing a wealth of information to support students to understand Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship (ESDGC) policy and practice in Wales. ESDGC is a statutory part of the Welsh education curriculum and this provides students with an excellent platform on which to develop their ESDGC practice in the future. 

Dr Glenda Tinney, Faculty of Education and Communities

To raise awareness of the alarming decline in insect pollinators, Professor Karen Ingham of UWTSD created a prototype range of clothing that, through public engagement with art and science, raised greater awareness of this important issue.

Pollinator Frocks Project

The Pollinator Frocks Project (2011) was a limited edition collection of surface pattern designs and clothing based on scanning electron microscopy images of plant pollen grains linked to endangered pollinators. These digitally enhanced images formed the basis for a range of striking and unusual printed fabrics, which acted as ‘wearable gardens’.

The fabrics were treated with pollinator food sources that replicated nectar, which was specially coated onto the fabric prior to cut and assemble as ‘pollinator frocks’. Working with technologists at the Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating the project involved research into olfactory attractants and iridescent coatings that mimic the way insects view flowers. The designs consisted of ‘day-wear’ for insects such as bees and butterflies and ‘evening-wear’ for moths. In the urban environment where garden space is limited and nectar rich plants rare, the clothing could be hung out as clothes are hung on a washing line, to act as an attractant to pollinators.

As part of the public engagement events the fabrics were sited in a variety of environments and locations to raise public awareness of the issues and test the efficacy of the prototypes. The collection was trialled in the UK over summer 2010 before being tested for a more substantial period in New Zealand’s Pukekura Botanic Parklands as part of the art, technology and ecology event SCANZ 2011. There was global media interest in the project, which raised awareness of the key issues. Pollinator Frocks is supported by the art, science and technology network SATnet, the Welsh Government, The Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating at Swansea University, and Wales Arts International.

Karen Ingham, Faculty of Art and Design

This case study investigated the development and assessment of a range of interior tiles made of fused recycled bottle glass that was commissioned by an architectural practice for a new build development based on sustainable principles.

Kitchen Tiles

The interior tiles were installed in a show apartment and used to market low cost sustainable housing for the SA1 regeneration area in Swansea. The case study considered objective design criteria, including bending strength, stability, stain and scratch resistance, as well as aesthetic features such as colouring, translucency, texture and reproducibility.

Mechanical analysis showed the fused recycled bottle glass tiles exceeded the performance of commercially available tiles and the range of colours and texture can be produced to the architect’s requirement and desire. User perception was also a key aspect of the design process and to assess product acceptability a questionnaire was undertaken with 180 people from various professional backgrounds. The survey assessed the perceived aesthetic, value and mechanical integrity of two recycled glass tile designs alongside three commercially available competitors. Results showed that the recycled fused tiles compared very favourably against the high-end commercially available tile, whilst portraying unique environmental values that exploit a locally sourced waste material.

Dr Tyra Oseng-Rees, Institute for Industrial Design

Awareness of environment is integrated into student projects. Students are asked to take a holistic approach to projects, making consideration of cause and effect. The consideration given within projects encourages students to use divergent and convergent thinking. This approach helps to mature students into young adults, who can synthesize information.

Through this process they gain awareness of their surroundings in local and global terms. Student destination is evidenced by assimilation and empathy with emphasis in the context of individuality through their learning experience. They are becoming ‘aware’ of their environment as they develop through their project work.

Below are listed a number of modules that students are engage with. The skills that they develop encourage them to make connections, share knowledge and work together. These are all sustainable skills.

Year 1 projects include:
Graphic Communication and the Advertising Environment, Typography and Copywriting, Visual and Technical Studies.

Year 2 Projects include:
Branding and Corporate Graphics, Major Project, Lens based and Interactive Advertising, Visual and Technical Studies.

Year 3 projects include:
Personal and External Project. D&AD Competition briefs. Advanced Creative Enquiry. Marketing Promotion and Exhibition.

Angela Williams, Faculty of Art and Design